National CAPACD Board of Directors Announces Next Executive Director


The Board of Directors of National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) is proud to announce that we have selected Seema Agnani to serve as our next Executive Director. Seema will assume her new leadership role in January 2017.  

Seema’s selection affirms National CAPACD’s commitment to build leadership that comes from the grassroots and our deep and abiding connection to our member organizations. Seema was a founder and long-time Executive Director of Chhaya Community Development Corporation – not only one of our leading member organizations but also a leading organization in New York City, working with immigrants on housing justice and economic development issues. Seema has been on the Board of Directors of National CAPACD and, most recently, served on National CAPACD staff as Director of Policy and Civic Engagement. This triple fold experience with National CAPACD – as the leader of a member organization, as a Board member, and as senior staff – gives her a unique understanding of our organization and our network. Her additional past work experience – in advocacy for immigrant rights, in the philanthropic sector, and in the field of capacity building for nonprofit organizations – all give her a well of practical experience, subject matter expertise, and extensive personal and professional relationships that will be of tremendous benefit to our network in her new role.

Perhaps most importantly, in the face of a challenging national context, it is key to have an Executive Director with Seema’s strength, vision, and track record of leadership. Seema helped lead Chhaya CDC and the Jackson Heights neighborhood both through the difficult times post-9/11 and through the recent financial crisis. She has helped hold a community together both in the face of anti-immigrant backlash and in the face of foreclosure and displacement. In the difficult times ahead, this country needs leaders of Seema’s caliber to help protect the progress that was so hard won and to stand with the multiple communities made more vulnerable by the recent election. We are lucky to have Seema at the helm for our share of this struggle.

Seema currently serves on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Community Advisory Board and is on the board of South Asian Americans Leading Together. She is the daughter of immigrants from India and originally from the Chicago metro area.

National CAPACD’s Board of Directors thanks Lisa Hasegawa, our outgoing Executive Director, for her many years of service. Under her leadership, National CAPACD grew from a staff of two to 15 employees in two offices, with an annual budget over $4 million, including over $2 million in re-granting to community-based organizations serving low-income AAPIs. National CAPACD’s membership grew from a founding roster of approximately 15 members to a network of over 100. And she did it all with a smile and an unflagging open heart. The board would also like to thank Elsa Rios and Strategies for Social Change for her support and guidance through this leadership transition. Last but not least, the board thanks the entire staff of National CAPACD for their patience and support through this process.

Michael Byun and Dean Matsubayashi, Board Co-Chairs, National CAPACD